Dave Lauterbach's story of World War II
“I think my mom passed away five years ago and that really changed my perspective on the world…My mom always played piano her whole life, up until she died, and she was a really good pianist. Her family fled Latvia in 1941 when she was two because it was sort of sandwiched right in between Germany and Russia. At the time the Germans were coming in from the West and Stalin was coming in from the East. It was just devastation. At one point in ‘45, everybody in my mom’s family, my mom, my mom’s sister, her parents and some cousins and uncles–the grandparents all stayed behind, and they were all killed–were in a bombed-out building in Czechoslovakia. So they were in this bombed-out building and my mom and my grandmother went to go pick berries just outside one night. While they were out, there was a bomb raid and during the bomb raid everybody in my mom’s family was killed, every part of the family, everybody except my mom and my grandmother. They were split up though, and so my grandmother at the time thought, ‘Oh my God, everybody’s dead, I have nothing, no family. No money. No nothing’. She was thinking about killing herself and just to hell with the world. But she hung in there for a little while and then later she was in some bombed-out town and heard a piano playing and said, ‘That’s my daughter. Oh my God that’s my daughter. I know it is.’” It was.